the only representative of the Mochokiella genus
in the Mochokidae family. It was described
by Dr.Gordon Howes of the Natural History Museum in
London with a specimen provided in 1980 by Steve Pritchard
a friend and fellow member of the Catfish
It is very close
to the Synodontis species but can be told apart
by its very long branched barbels ( outer mandibular
= 3 branches, inner mandibular = 4 ) and its comparatively
small size. It is also very much like in appearance,
the genus Microsynodontis, but as mentioned
before they have longer mandibular barbels, a larger
eye, smaller adipose fin and a forked caudal fin,
whereas the Microsynodontis genus has a rounded
caudal and smaller eyes.
It likes clean
water with low nitrates, so keep up the monthly water
changes in your aquarium.
purchase more than one individual as I'm sure this
species would be a prime candidate for a determined
and successful breeder in the future.
Above image shows
the branched barbels unique to this species
type locality, Kassawe Forest Reserve, Sierra Leone.
Head markedly curved, snout
rounded. Mouth small, lower lip not developed as in
Synodontis. Eye supero-lateral. Humeral process
elongate and pointed, almost as long as the pectoral
fin, barbels with unilateral branching.
Mottled, reticulated dark
brown markings on beige-creamy background. Most
distinctive are the dark bands across the head and
those linking the eye with the nostrils and corner
of the mouth. The anterier part of the body is uniformly
dark but posteriorly is reticulate. Particularly
noticeable is the diagonal stripe from the rear
of the adipose fin to the anal fin. The adipose
fin has a light border, all other fins are barred
and blotched. All barbels are barred.
Care & Compatibility
This catfish is an excellent
addition to any community tank. It can be very secretive
during the day but is certainly happier if you furnish
the aquarium with hiding places such as bogwood/logs,
pipes or rockwork. You can then see it occasionally
with such a set-up.
Males are slimmer than the
females and in some of this genera the caudal fin is
longer in the males with the females being indented.
Will take most prepared aquarium
foods such as frozen bloodworm, whiteworm, shrimp,
prawns, tablet food, flake and pellets.
From the Latin -ella; in reference to the small size
of the fish (literally: "a small Mochokus"). paynei: named after its
discoverer, Dr. Payne, in a rain forest creek in Sierra
H.A. and R. Riehl 1985 Aquarien atlas. Band
2. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde
GmbH, Melle, Germany. 1216 p. Burgess
E. Warren Dr. An Atlas of Freshwater
and Marine Catfishes, 1989.
G.J. 1980 A new catfish from Sierra Leone.
Bull. Br./Mus. Nat. Hist. (Zool) 38(3): 165-1702.
Sands, David. Catfishes of the World